What does Henley epitomize according to you ? (high performance, British tradition, etc.)
Peak of club rowing in England and for some of the best clubs that can afford to make the trip. Apart from the Olympics, it’s the best diplay of the sport that there is. It’s exciting because it’s one on one, so there is a strong psychological aspect to it which does not exist in 6 lane racing.
It’s also typically English in that tradition plays a huge part. For example, the course is a little longer than 2,000 metres. Where most rowing races are 2,000 metres you might have expected them to shorten the length to 2,000 but tradition playing such an important role they haven’t!
What do you like best at the HRR? I’ve rarely participated and actually not done well when I have, so I don’t have many good memories of racing. But winning would certainly be cool. Otherwise it’s always fun to ‘people watch’ as there are some real characters that come and watch Henley. The typically English feel of the event is also something that is very unique and so worth coming for.
When did you first see the Henley course ? For what occasion?
When I first started rowing at school when I was about 11 our rowing coach took us down to watch the racing on the Wednesday of Henley. It was an amazing day, the rowers then seemed like huge giants and it seemed like I might never be able to compete. Even today some of the rowers look like giants, but at least I feel I might be able to get my foot in the door!
See also HTBS 25 March, 2011.